Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2011/05/25 10:39
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has shed little public light on his account of what happened between him and a hotel housekeeper who accused him of sexually attacking her. But in a potentially revealing hint, one of his lawyers has said he doesn't expect the evidence will show a forcible encounter.
If Strauss-Kahn's lawyers are planning to argue there was a consensual liaison, they would be using a common sex-crime defense argument — but one that has both succeeded and failed in other high-profile cases. It sets up a "he-said, she-said" confrontation that can pose challenges for defense lawyers and prosecutors alike, legal experts say.
"They're really difficult cases because, by their very nature, nobody else is there," said Brenda Smith, an American University Washington College of Law professor who has studied sexual violence. Even DNA or other forensic evidence might establish sexual contact but still not prove an attack, "so it really is the credibility of the complainant and the defendant, and also the facts and information that each side can marshal to support their version of what occurred."
For now, Strauss-Kahn is under house arrest in a Manhattan apartment on a total of $6 million in bond and cash bail, facing attempted rape and other charges. At the time of his May 14 arrest, the 62-year-old economist and diplomat led the powerful, loan-making IMF and was considered a leading contender to challenge French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Prosecutors say he chased down the cleaner in a penthouse suite, groped her, tried to pull down her pantyhose and forced her to perform oral sex.